Adherence and Persistence to Nusinersen for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: A US Claims-Based Analysis

David Fox, Tu My To, Arpamas Seetasith, Anisha M. Patel, Susan T. Iannaccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic, neuromuscular disease caused by deletions and/or mutations in the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene leading to reduced SMN protein levels. Nusinersen, an intrathecally administered antisense oligonucleotide therapy that increases SMN protein levels, is approved for use in adult and pediatric patients with SMA. Data to inform real-world patient adherence and persistence to nusinersen are limited, with disparities in the population with SMA, study design, and results. The objective of this study is to characterize real-world nusinersen adherence and persistence in patients with SMA. Methods: This retrospective study examined nusinersen adherence and persistence over a 2-year period in patients with SMA in the USA from the IQVIA PharMetrics Plus claims database. Patients were followed from the date of first evidence of nusinersen treatment (occurring after 1 July 2017) until the end of the study period (31 December 2019) or end of continuous pharmacy and medical benefit enrollment, whichever came first. Subgroup analyses for nusinersen adherence and persistence were performed on the basis of age and presence or absence of spinal complications. Results: The final cohort consisted of 179 patients with SMA treated with nusinersen. Adherence to nusinersen treatment was 41% at 56 weeks and 39% at 104 weeks. In the base-case persistence analysis, there was a decrease in persistence before 6 months (67%) and further decline at 1 (57%) and 2 years (55%). Patients with spinal complication versus without had numerically higher persistence with nusinersen. Conclusions: The findings suggest that adherence and persistence to nusinersen treatment appear low. Demographic (age ≥ 18 years) and clinical factors (no spinal complications) may contribute to nusinersen treatment discontinuation. Future research should explore possible reasons for low adherence and persistence to nusinersen treatment, such as clinical or logistical factors, patient preferences, and payer restrictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-919
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Claims database
  • Discontinuation
  • Disease-modifying therapy
  • Treatment access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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